PREPARING FOR YOUR

APPOINTMENT

Preparing for a diagnostic test or interventional procedure can be a difficult task. Click the subsections to learn how to prepare for your appointment. The information on this page will provide a general overview that does not replace the specific and personalized instructions you will receive from your healthcare team.

DIAGNOSTIC TEST

CLINIC
APPOINTMENT

PROCEDURAL
APPOINTMENT

Questions? Call Sue!

Socorro (Sue) Jimeno

Clinical Coordinator, Structural Heart Disease Program 

Phone: 416 340 4800, extension 6258

Fax: 416 340 5143

 

DIAGNOSTIC TESTS

Your preparation will vary depending on the type of diagnostic test you are scheduled to take.

For information on where to go, visit the "Getting Around UHN" page.

What you need to know

You can expect the average diagnostic test to take between 45 to 60 minutes. This does not include the time it takes to get ready and the time it takes to recover. Our team is there to keep you safe and comfortable throughout this process. Please inform us of any issues or concerns you may have as we would be happy to address them.

 

MRI tests are conducted in a long, dark tube. If you are claustrophobic, we can provide medication that may ease this process. 

Though our medical imaging machines are state of the art, diagnostic tests still take a period of time. Once all tests are completed, we will have all the information we need to make important decisions about next steps regarding your condition.

What to do before you arrive for your test

Depending on the type of diagnostic test you are taking, there may be special considerations.

 

If you take a "blood thinner" such as Coumadin® or Warfarin, then call your family doctor or the doctor arranging the test/procedure, to ask what you need to do about your "blood thinner". If you take pills such as Metformin® or insulin for your diabetes, then call your family doctor or the doctor who is arranging your test/procedure, to ask what you will need to do about your medication and food consumption on the day of your test. If you are unsure about your medications, please inquire information this from your family doctor prior to the day of your test.

A CT scan will require the use of intravenous x-ray dye.  It is important to let us know if you have previously had a reaction to x-ray dye, as special preparation will be required.

If your procedure involves General Anaesthesia (GA) or a Trans-esophageal Echocardiogram (TEE): GA is controlled and reversible sedation that puts patients in a state of unconsciousness for the duration of the procedure. TEE involves creating images of the heart using a long, thin tube that is passed through a patients esophagus. For tests or procedures involving GA or TEE, do not have anything to eat or drink after midnight the night before your procedure. You should however take all your pills at your normal times with a glass of water. Follow the doctor's recommendations for your "blood thinner" and diabetes pills.

If your procedure is scheduled for the morning: Do not have anything to eat or drink after midnight the night before your procedure. You should however take all your pills at your normal times with a glass of water. Follow the doctor's recommendations for your "blood thinner" and diabetes pills.

If your procedure scheduled for the afternoon: Eat a small breakfast such as toast and juice by 6:00 am the morning of your test. Do not have anything to eat or drink until after the procedure. You should however take all your pills at your normal times with a glass of water. Follow the doctor's recommendations for your "blood thinner" and diabetes pills.

Avoid caffeine and caffeinated drinks for 48 hours prior to your appointment, including coffee, tea, and coca-cola or other sodas.

Do not eat heavy foods on the day of your test.

Do not drink a lot of liquid on the day of your test.

Ask your doctor if you should take any medications on the day of your test.

What to bring

  •  ID card showing your name and date of birth, health insurance information (for example, OHIP / Ontario Health card) 

  • A family member or friend

  • An interpreter for non-English language speakers. Translation services available upon request.

  • A list of your medications

  • Please do NOT bring large amounts of money, jewellery or any other valuables.

  • Remember the hospital is a scent-free environment. No perfume or cologne please.  

 

When you arrive

For information on where to go, click here: Getting Around UHN

You will be given instructions on where the location of your appointment or procedure is.

Your family members will be able to wait with you in the waiting rooms and holding areas. They will not be able to come into the test room.

A CT Scanner

Click image to enlarge.

 

CLINIC APPOINTMENTS & CHECK-UPS

For information on where to go, visit the "Getting Around UHN" page.

What you need to Know

You can expect the average clinic appointment to take approximately 40 minutes. This does not include the time it takes to get ready and the time it takes to recover. Our team is there to keep you safe and comfortable. Please inform us of any issues or concerns you may have as we would be happy to address them.

What to bring

  •  ID card showing your name and date of birth, health insurance information (for example, OHIP / Ontario Health card)

  • A family member or friend

  • An interpreter for non-English language speakers. Translation services available upon request.

  • Your medications in their original containers (or a detailed list)

  • Any documentation you may have, including any test results (Echos, TEE, CTs, MRIs, other information)

  • Correspondence with doctors, operative reports, letters, etc.

Do Not Bring

  • Large amounts of money, jewellery or any other valuables.

  • No perfume or cologne please. The hospital is a scent-free environment.   

 

When you arrive

For information on where to go, click here: Getting Around UHN

Your family members may attend the appointment with you.

 

PROCEDURAL APPOINTMENT

INTERVENTION OR OPERATION

What you need to know

You can expect the average procedural appointment to take between 45 to 60 minutes. This does not include the time it takes to get ready and the time it takes to recover. Our team is there to keep you safe and comfortable throughout the process. Please inform us of any issues or concerns you my have as we would be happy to address them.

What to do before you arrive for your test

Depending on the type of procedure you are undergoing, there may be special considerations.

 

Ask your doctor if you should take medications on the day of your test.

IMPORTANT: If you take a "blood thinner" such as Coumadin® or Warfarin, then call the doctor arranging the test/procedure to ask what you need to do about your "blood thinner". If you take pills such as Metformin® or insulin for your diabetes, then call the doctor who is arranging your test/procedure, to ask what you need to do about your medication and food consumption on the day of your test. If you are unsure about your medications, please inquire this information from your family doctor prior to the day of your test.    

 

If you take diabetes medication, call the doctor arranging your procedure. You may be given instructions about your diabetes medication. Take a shower or bath the night before or the morning of your test.

If your procedure requires general anesthesia, you will have received specific instructions regarding food consumption. If you are unsure, please call the doctor arranging your procedure.

If your procedure involves General Anaesthesia (GA) or a Trans-esophageal Echocardiogram (TEE):

GA is controlled and reversible sedation that puts patients in a state of unconsciousness for the duration of the procedure. TEE involves creating images of the heart using a long, thin tube that is passed through a patients esophagus. For tests or procedures involving GA or TEE, do not have anything to eat or drink after midnight the night before your procedure. You should however take all your pills at your normal times with a glass of water. Follow the doctor's recommendations for your "blood thinner" and diabetes pills.

If your procedure is scheduled for the morning: Do not have anything to eat or drink after midnight the night before your procedure. You should however take all your pills at your normal times with a glass of water. Follow the doctor's recommendations for your "blood thinner" and diabetes pills.

If your procedure is scheduled for the afternoon: Eat a small breakfast such as toast and juice by 6:00am the morning of your test. Do not have anything to eat or drink until after the procedure. You should however take all your pills at your normal times with a glass of water. Follow the doctor's recommendations for your "blood thinner" and diabetes pills.

For all procedures:

Avoid caffeine and caffeinated drinks for 48 hours prior to your appointment, including coffee, tea, coca-cola and other sodas. Do not eat heavy foods on the day of your test. Do not drink a lot of liquid on the day of your test. Avoid shaving any hair. If body hair needs to be trimmed during your procedure, our team will facilitate that service. We will ensure that you are not at an increased risk of infection in case of cuts.

What to bring

  •  ID card showing your name and date of birth, health insurance information (for example, OHIP / Ontario Health card)

  • A family member or friend

  • An interpreter for non-English language speakers. Translation services available upon request.

  • Wear comfortable clothing and shoes  

  • Your dentures, glasses, hearing aid, books to read

  • A list of your medications

 

Do Not Bring

  • Large amounts of money, jewellery or any other valuables.

  • No perfume or cologne please. The hospital is a scent-free environment. 

 

When you arrive

For information on where to go, click here: Getting Around UHN

You will be given instructions on where the location of your procedure is.

Your family members will be able to wait with you in the waiting rooms and holding areas. They will not be able to come into the procedure room.

How long is your appointment?

                                                           

  • Expect to wait a few hours before your procedure

                                                   

  • You can expect the average procedure take between 45 to 60 minutes. This does not include the time it takes to get ready and the time it takes to recover.

  • Expect to stay in bed for 3 to 4 hours after the procedure. 

  • Expect to spend the day in the hospital, and to be discharged the following morning after your procedure.                    

  • You must have someone stay with you for the night after your procedure.

           

Before you leave                                                           

                                                           

Your healthcare team will provide you with specific instructions on what you need to do before leaving the hospital.

 

Most procedures require access to an artery and a vein. Your doctor will decide which is best for your procedure based on a number of factors. When you return from the catheterization lab, you will lay on your back with your leg or arm straight. You stay in this position for 3 to 4 hours before you are allowed to sit up. This helps the area to heal.

 

A nurse will monitor your blood pressure and your pulse in your wrists and feet. a nurse will also monitor the area where the catheter was inserted. Our team is there to keep you safe and comfortable. Please inform us of any issues or concerns you may have as we would be happy to address them.

 

When you are stable you will be transferred to the ward for overnight care if required.

​One hour after the procedure, you can have something to eat and drink. You can take the bandage off 24 hours after your procedure.

​​

Your cardiologist will provide specific instructions and guidelines to follow after your interventional procedure is completed. Some general questions and answers are listed below.

Frequently Asked Questions following an Intervention or Operation:

When can I take the bandage off my groin or wrist?

24 hours after your angiogram.

                                                           

Will my groin or wrist puncture site bleed once I get home?

It should not bleed, but this can happen. If your puncture site bleeds, lay down right away. Press firmly over the area until the bleeding stops. If the bleeding does not stop, you must: 1. Keep pressing firmly over the area 2. Call 911.

 

What should I do if I have discomfort?

Use Tylenol® or acetaminophen for any discomfort.

                                                                                                           

Can I climb stairs?              

Yes, you can climb stairs. Go slowly if you need to. Attempt to reduce the frequency of climbing stairs.

                                                           

Should I shower or bathe?        

You may shower 24 hours after your procedure. Do NOT sit in a hot bath until at least 7 days after your procedure as this can cause the puncture site at your groin or wrist to bleed.

                                                           

When can I be sexually active again?

You can have sex 2 days after your procedure.

                                                           

Can I lift heavy objects?

It takes time for your groin to heal after an interventional procedure. Do not lift, push or pull anything over 10 pounds for 1 week after your procedure. Items that are over 10 pounds can include children, heavy grocery bags, lawnmowers, vacuums and weights.

When can I return to work?

Ask your doctor. Your return to work depends on the kind of work you do. If you have a job where you sit, you can usually go back after three to five days. After some minor procedures you can return to work the next day (ie. diagnostic angiogram).

                                                           

If you have a job where you do heavy lifting, it may be longer before you return to work. Ask your doctor how long you need to limit exertion.       

                                   

When can I get back to regular exercise?                                                 

You may walk for the first three to four days after your procedure. Walk at an easy pace. Stop if you feel you are overdoing it or don’t feel well. Recovery make take some time, avoid any heavy exercising during this time. Ask your doctor how much walking and exercise you should do.

                                                           

When can I drive my car?      

You can drive your car one day after your angiogram. If you are traveling for long periods, stretch your legs every one to two hours. If you have had a therapeutic procedure, it is best to check with your doctor.

                                                           

If you drive a commercial vehicle, ask your doctor when you can start driving again.

                                                           

I am planning a trip. When can I travel by air?

Talk to your cardiologist before you book your flight. Most insurance companies will not insure you for three months after a significant procedure or change in medication. 

Toronto General Hospital 

 200 Elizabeth Street | 6E - 249

Toronto, Ontario M5G 2C4

Tel: 416-340-3835

Fax: 416-340-3000

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